As much as I would have wanted to be on a beach Labor Day weekend, I found myself on my couch under the air conditioning, glued to my television watching the U.S. Open. Though all of my hard work as a spectator did not net Serena Williams winning the singles title and the Grand Slam, she still is the greatest of all time! Awesome tennis this year!
By the time Sunday of the holiday weekend came, I was ready to give my eyes and nerves a rest and head out somewhere … anywhere. That’s when I enlisted my friend Jason (also tired of looking at his four walls) to jump in the car and head out to the North Fork of Long Island to wine country … just because. The ride out from Harlem was just what was needed, less my forlorn sigh passing by the Billie Jean King Tennis Center.
There are many vineyards on the North Fork, so Jason and I started at the obvious first choice, Jason’s Vineyard (@Jasons_Vineyard, 1785 Main Road, 631-238-5801, www.jasonsvineyard.com). We stepped out of the car to the sounds of live classic rock coming from the main building and sauntered up to vines of plump purple grapes just waiting for their moment.
Because our late in the day arrival, we spent only a couple of minutes inside looking at their wine selections and local foods. We had to save the one tasting we were allowing ourselves for our last spot, where we would spend the most time so as to be very sober on the drive home. However, Jason’s Vineyard was warm and convivial for more than the wine they serve.
I was on a mission to get to a vineyard as close to the water as possible. The helpful map we picked up at Jason’s Vineyard directed us to Harbes Family Farm & Vineyard (@HarbesFarm, 715 Sound Ave., 631-298-9163, www.harbesfamilyfarm.com). We didn’t make it past the farm stand, fair and tasting room to see the actual vineyard, but we still took a moment to let the sun beat on our faces and get some produce. Jason picked up some gorgeous tomatoes, basil and freshly made mozzarella for a caprese salad dinner.
I was still looking for my vineyard near the water. It wouldn’t happen, but my quest led me to my favorite location of the day—a place I would return to again. Right off the beaten path, I randomly selected Shinn Estate Vineyards (@ShinnVineyard, 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck, 631-804-0367, www.shinnestatevineyards.com) and, pulling in, I instantly knew it would happily be our last stop.
Pulling into Shinn Estate Vineyard, we passed their gorgeous and inviting wood-shingled farmhouse inn. Ahead we saw the manicured row of vines of their certified sustainable vineyard in the glow of what would be a gorgeous sunset.
We parked and walked into their modern, beachy, landscaped indoor-outdoor tasting area and I knew this was exactly where we needed to be. Some wine tasting was about to go down!
The hip, friendly and attentive staff saw to our every need. Because Jason and I are both red wine drinkers, we opted to try four of theirs ($14 to taste four)—Estate Merlot, Wild Boar Doe, Nine Barrels Reserve Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Olives, salami, cheese and crackers were essential and downright needed to round out the moment.
We liked all of the wines, but the Estate Merlot surprised us and the Cabernet Franc needed to come home with us. Jason picked up a bottle and I decided on something I didn’t taste, their Red Blend, to bring home. As expected, it was an easy, everyday drinking wine.
We didn’t want our time to end at Shinn Estate Vineyards. We lingered in the Cab Franc grape section for a while and documented the moment with some selfies before getting back in the car and taking the long, long drive back to the city.
Somehow, passing the lights of the U.S. Open wasn’t so painful on the return home. Good on you, Long Island wine country. Look out for me on my next visit.
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Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.